Aug 24 2011

Muhammad Shirin Maghribi – O End of Every Beginning

Published by at 9:11 am under Ivan's Story,Poetry

O End of Every Beginning
by Muhammad Shirin Maghribi

English version by Mahmood Jamal

O end of every beginning,
O beginning of every end,
O manifest of every hidden,
O hidden of all revealed!

The light of Your beauty
In every believer’s eye does shine;
The sign of Your anger
In every denier’s heart we find.

You thank him and he is You,
Himself giver and receiver,
Himself the gift and the thanking.

None but You, the worshipped;
None but You, the worshipper;
None but You, the witness;
None but You, the speaker.

When the Saqi gave Maghrabi the wine
Of eternal life
He was annihilated and eternal.
He was non-existent and existent!

— from Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi, Translated by Mahmood Jamal

/ Photo by /

A little off-topic rant today (but sent with much love!) It just seems like a day to be feisty…

I was a teenager in the 1980s during the rise of the L.A. punk scene. No, I never spiked my hair, got tattooed, or trudged about in heavy army boots. But I had a few friends who were part of that world. Monday morning at school I’d hear fascinating stories of mosh pits and rock bands pushing the human ear’s endurance. I was too quiet and solitary and fond of my eardrums to join the punk scene. But I got along well with my punk friends because, in my very internalized way, I was just as much of an angry young man. You wouldn’t have known it to look at me — my clothes were plain and boring, I was a straight-A student, I was polite and friendly — but like my punk friends, I felt a simmering rage at the society in which I found myself growing into adulthood.

I had gone from the creative, sleepy, back-to-earth hippie culture of Oregon in the ’70s to L.A. full-throttle in the Reagan Era. As I grew into my teenage years, it dawned on me that this was the new mainstream American culture, not my nostalgic memories of Oregon. And I was stuck in it. These were the same things the punk movement was raging against: hyper-insulation, stupid wealth, and flattened souls. All I had to look forward to as I grew into adulthood was learning to live with it all, maybe figuring out enough of the rules to claw my way further up the heap. Like my friends, I felt profoundly betrayed by the world given to me.

Once I entered college, I let my facade collapse, and I began to admit how lost and alienated I felt. My academic focus crumbled, my pretense at life direction fell apart. The most terrifying thing of all was that I had discovered no clear path to follow. I sought meaning as best I could. I read Thoreau, I read Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, I started to meditate. Frankly, none of that helped… not right away. I felt numb, just going through the motions. But I found a sweet, painful intensity in my hungering soul. Strange to say, that’s what sustained me and guided me. When we can’t find food, we can be fed by our hunger. I admit, I was probably miserable to be around at that time, but that intense yearning sparked and finally lit a flame inside me, and that flame has been my light and my heat ever since.

You know, I have some pretty strong political and social ideas, to a level that’s unseemly in someone on a contemplative path, but my most aggressive rebellion has been internal rebellion. We can and should strive to improve the world around us, but more important than unseating men of dark minds, more important than reshaping society, is toppling the tyrannical self that darkens our perception of life. That’s when we finally witness what a heavenly realm this world truly is. That vision is our map. Only then do we truly know where we want to go and have an idea how to get there. Actually, it’s not so much that we have to get somewhere; the heavenly vision just pours out of us, vivifying the world around us. By seeing, by knowing, by being profoundly alive, we become the alchemical means of transforming the world. This is the sort of rebel the world needs more of.

That’s my punk manifesto!

He was annihilated and eternal.
He was non-existent and existent!

Muhammad Shirin Maghribi

Iran/Persia (1349 – 1406) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Muhammad Shirin Maghribi was a student of the great Sufi philosopher ibn Arabi and world-traveler.

The name Maghribi refers to the Mahgrib region in North Africa, but Maghribi was actually born in Tabriz, in what is today Iran. He picked up the nickname Maghribi because he famously journeyed through the Mahgrib region.

More poetry by Muhammad Shirin Maghribi

16 responses so far

16 Responses to “Muhammad Shirin Maghribi – O End of Every Beginning”

  1. Christopher Crumbon 24 Aug 2011 at 11:26 am

    Thanks. Your commentary brought a tear
    To my eye, a quiver to my heart and
    memories of the late 70’s 80’s punk
    New wave music and the no wave
    scene in Manhattan where I lived
    from 79 – 85. What youth would not
    feel alienated in the world we inherited,
    Thank Godess for music art and poetry
    to feed our deep yearning and let us
    express our rage until we found other
    ways to express the fire that burns deep
    within. Peace Bro and God Save The Queen!

  2. nasihaon 24 Aug 2011 at 11:58 am

    wow yes i loved punk though i was faraway from it geographically, but as the television invades all homes my share was brought to me along with the spikes and some of the greatest music i must say and it was fun from far off. let us all find our vision and the map…best wishes always! well written!

  3. Cynthia Ekrenon 24 Aug 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I always appreciate when you share your personal stories. I was a punk-wantabe going as far as wearing a safety pin in my ear, much to my mother’s horror. It is helpful to remember that the tyrant needing toppling is the one within. Thank you!

  4. kimon 24 Aug 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Ivan, thank you so much for sharing your punk past, your wonderful words, and your friendly light. It is much appreciated. Patti Smith still moves me to tears, and now your reminiscences have too.

  5. Patricia Tayloron 24 Aug 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Ah Ivan,
    This is a granny of 16 offspring speaking; a lifetime away from ‘punk’. The message that speaks to me is that with each step we take in life, the purpose becomes clearer when we open our hearts to direction from within. I am so thrilled to read responses from younger people who are doing just this. You’ve trodden a troubled road, but boy, isn’t it worth it!
    Bless you, and thank you too for your truly wonderful ‘thoughts of the day’. Trish

  6. Franon 24 Aug 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Yes I can relate to your story. A be a part of the solution not a problem Kind of joe strummer punk! Interesting enough today on terry gross of public radio the last 15 minutes or so dedicated to john doe of theLA band X. Great memories of their music in the song See how we r comes to mind.
    Look it up it’s very touching for a hard core band. also think of the Connells yes Seek and you will find but I swear it’s not what you find. It’s good to hear a song music Poetry It is fuel for the soul to dance. AN INVITATION TO ACT.

  7. karen Brownon 24 Aug 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I loved it…i only heard of you 2 days ago..and so quickly we are becoming are so open and allowing the world to see who you are…Wonderful…i loved the poem!…thank you..but i will read your words, Ivan, again and again.

    a Canadian english teacher in China:)

  8. Rachelon 24 Aug 2011 at 8:21 pm

    never would have thought of Sufi Poetry as Punk Rock, but I do now! loved your manifesto.

  9. Joanon 24 Aug 2011 at 11:16 pm

    What can I say. You put it so fluidly, you make it so simple and crystal clear. Your words:
    ‘Actually, it’s not so much that we have to get somewhere; the heavenly vision just pours out of us, vivifying the world around us. By seeing, by knowing, by being profoundly alive, we become the alchemical means of transforming the world. This is the sort of rebel the world needs more of.’
    They resound deep inside me, and give me hope.. help me remember that the path I have chosen is good, that I can make a difference even in just being me.
    We have a ‘revolution’ against corruption in India right now, and I have wondered if I am doing enough – protesting.. etc. But your lines bring me to the Now and that the truth that in just being me, teaching kids, speaking my story.. I am.
    thank you.

  10. Kathy Stewarton 24 Aug 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Exquisite poem, and more touching your public speaking of private worlds. Thank you as always for your uncertainty, longing, and love of the Truth! Kathy

  11. sandeon 25 Aug 2011 at 3:42 am

    your commentry worked for me – on a tough day as a FT carer to my 87YO pa who has more problems dealing with him medical condtiion than I do.

  12. Janeton 25 Aug 2011 at 4:25 am

    You give me hope!!

  13. sandy Lon 25 Aug 2011 at 5:37 am

    Today, climbing neither up nor down, but through I fin my difficult(most)task of tolerating myownself… Great job Ivan ily man!
    Sandy(Ol’ Man in Tejas)

  14. Nancyon 25 Aug 2011 at 7:52 am

    Ivan, You are the poem.

  15. vimal kapuron 26 Aug 2011 at 1:04 am

    I am moved by frank personal accounts.
    Ivan,you are bringing hope to many!!
    You are striking chords of resonance in many hearts !!!
    Keep it up !!!

  16. Melanieon 26 Aug 2011 at 7:15 am

    Dear Ivan,

    I am responding to “Chaikhana” for the first time though I have been reading your poetry selections and commentaries with a great deal of interest ever since stumbling upon this site about a month ago. This one really touched me because you have linked your personal story to the message in the poem and really opened out your heart. Thank you for this and all your earlier selections too.

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